Crusaders star Sam Whitelock will miss the next two matches. Photo: Joe Allison,

Crusaders lock and stand-in captain Sam Whitelock has been banned for two weeks after striking Cheetahs prop Charles Marais with his arm.

A Sanzaar Judicial Committee Hearing on Monday found that Whitelock had contravened Law 10.4(a) Striking another Player with the arm, after he was cited during the Kiwis’ 48-21 victory over the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on Saturday. 

Whitelock has been suspended for two weeks, up to and including May 13, which means he sits out the next two matches – against the Bulls at Loftus on Saturday and the Hurricanes in Christchurch on May 13.

The Whitelock/Marais incident occurred in the 71st minute in Bloemfontein, and the Crusaders stalwart was given a yellow card by referee Federico Anselmi.

The citing commissioner, though, felt the strike by Whitelock to Marais’ face had met the red-card threshold for foul play.

The Sanzaar Judicial Committee Hearing was held via video conference on Monday before Terry Willis (chairman), De Wet Barry and Mike Mika.

“Having conducted a detailed review of all the available evidence, including all camera angles and additional evidence, including from the player and submissions from his legal representative Aaron Lloyd, the Judicial Committee upheld the citing under Law 10.4(a) Striking another Player with the hand, arm or fist,” the committee found.

“With respect to sanction, the Judicial Committee deemed the act of foul play merited a mid-range entry point of four weeks due to the World Rugby stipulation that a strike to the head shall result in at least a mid-range entry-point sanction.

“However, taking into account mitigating factors – including the fact that the player had an excellent disciplinary record over 110 Super Rugby games for the Crusaders and 84 Test caps for the All Blacks, the committee reduced the otherwise applicable sanction from four weeks to two weeks.”

Sanzaar, Staff Writer